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So you are wondering how to start a blog. You are the right place.
This is a complete guide on how to start a blog from scratch (this requires no knowledge of blogging or programming). This is the post which I wanted when I started blogging.
Here you will find a step by step guide on
- How to find your blogging niche or What to blog about
- Choose a blogging platform
- Choose a web hosting
- Pick your domain name
- Setting up a WordPress blog
- Design your blog
So let’s get started quickly.
Why another blog post about “How to start a blog”?
Well, what can I say, most of the blog posts about how to start a blog on the internet are either not exhaustive enough to follow or are very old.
Also, I find most of the articles very tough to follow when I started my blogging career. I had to spend hours finding the bits and pieces online just to get my blog off the ground.
So this post is all about “I wish I had when I started blogging!”.
This post is written in the simplest layman terms which do not expect you to have any prior blogging or programming knowledge.
Before we dive into how to set up a blog and make money from it, let’s discuss a few things.
Why start a blog?
There are a number of reasons which bloggers can give you on why they started a blog. I will put down my thoughts on why you should start a blog today.
Just to write and share your knowledge
I started blogging because I wanted to share my knowledge (I had a very limited knowledge though but you eventually learn a lot) of how to live your life depending on natural and healthy products. Basically adopting a natural and healthy lifestyle. I was always interested in it so I thought of started a blog. Sure you will also have something to share. If you do then you should start a blog right away.
I was always interested in it so I thought of started a blog. Sure you will also have something to share. If you do then you should start a blog right away.
Sure you will also have something to share. If you do then you should start a blog right away.
Make money from home
When I started my blog I didn’t know I can make money from it. I was doing it just for my passion.
But later I found ways to monetize my blog. (Well my husband helped me realize the true potential of my blog, he is the one who educated me on how to start making money from alluringsoul).
There are a lot of bloggers who make living out of blogging. And some make a huge amount of money per month ($100,000). Yes, it’s per month!.
But I admit it’s not easy to make this crazy money but it’s definitely doable.
You might want to showcase yourself and build a community of like-minded people. Well, eventually you get to this point with your blog anyway.
You will have readers eagerly waiting for your next article and you feel great listening to their problems and helping them solve it.
Now let’s get back to business.
Steps To Start A Blog
1.How to find your blogging niche or What to blog about
So what is a niche?Well, this is a fancy word used by bloggers to broadly classify their blog.
Well, this is a fancy word used by bloggers to broadly classify their blog.
You can always blog about everything in this world, but given that you are the only one working on your blog, it would be too difficult to write about simply everything.
So you always choose a broad category before you start a blog. This is called a blog niche.
So why choose a niche?
Here is my explanation for choosing a niche
1. You know what to write about. You don’t have to write about everything as you don’t have the time and energy to do it.
2. You have high-quality engaging posts when you write under a niche.
3. You have a highly engaging audience who love to read your post.
4. You have authority in that niche. Writing in a single niche allows you to show your authority on the niche topic and thus your readers admire you for that.
Whenever your reader thinks of a problem related to your niche, they think of you.
5. You can write a few super helpful posts in a month and yet you have your readers loving you (Fewer posts do not mean less informative or small posts, it still needs to be informative and long enough so that your readers can have a positive takeaway after reading).
This is true in the case of search engines like Google as well. Writing about a single niche helps you build authority in front of Google which means higher ranking in google search, means more traffic 🙂
How to choose a niche?
There are multiple ways to choose a niche. I will outline a few which helped me choose my niche when I started blogging.
1. Blog about what you enjoy and love to write.
Blogging is all about presenting your thoughts and your expertise about the topic to your readers. If you are not able to do it, your readers won’t be engaged enough.
2. Choose a niche where you can build a good number of topics to write about.
There are a couple of niches where it’s tough to build a lot of posts (This is my thinking, a lot of bloggers do disagree with it though!).
Blogging is a journey and if you are stuck while building new posts then you will face issues in your blogging journey.
I know choosing a niche can be difficult. You should give some time thinking about it.
If you face any issues or want to discuss the niches in your mind, just write me an email. I would be more than happy to discuss.
2. Choose a blogging platform
There are a lot of blogging platforms to choose from. There is wordpress.com, Wix, Blogger, Squarespace, etc.
The most popular and widely used blogging platform is WordPress. This is because it’s highly customizable and super easy to use by bloggers with no programming knowledge. Also, there is a large community of users who share tools and ideas for blogs made in WordPress.
With WordPress, there are 2 options available,
a. Hosted WordPress blogs also called wordpress.com. This is free but it your earning potential from your blog is very limited. There are a lot of terms and conditions which you will need to follow which means you losing a lot of potential money from your blog.
b. Self Hosted blogs also called wordpress.org. This is what I use and highly recommend. This gives to complete control on your blog. You set your terms and conditions.
3. Choose a web hosting
Once you have found your niche, it’s time now to get your blog up from the ground. So pull your sleeves up and let’s start!
Web Host is the server where your blog lives. A hosting provider is a company which provides you that server space. You pay a monthly or yearly rental to use that service. This is very a very small amount and will cost you less than the price of a cup of coffee in Starbucks.
I have personally used Bluehost for hosting my website. They are great. They are the industry leaders and you can find millions of blogs running on Bluehost. They are also recommended hosting provider by WordPress.
Bluehost charges you just $3.95 per month and also you will get a free domain name if you buy their yearly rental plan. Also, you can cancel at any time if you don’t like their services and you will get your refund.
Navigate to Bluehost
Click to open Bluehost in a separate window and follow along.
Click on the green “Get Started Now” button.
Now you need to select the plan. If you are just starting out then “Basic” plan is best for you. Click on “Select” button under “Basic” plan.
4. Pick a Domain Name
Domain name is the name of your blog. Like for me, it is alluringsoul.com. You can choose whatever you want it to be. I do have some recommendations on that.
a. Choose small domain names. Long domain names are though to remember. Like I chose alluringsoul.com. I think its small and much easily rememberable.
b. Try not to use special characters like “-” or “*” and also numbers in between your domain name. this makes your domain name tough to remember.
c. Choose .com always. This is important. There are a lot of advantages to it. You get ranking better in Google search results, you are seen as a commercial website thus making you look professional and authoritative. Plus it is easy to remember as most of the websites are .com in the world.
Now you will be asked for the domain name. If you have already purchased a domain name from somewhere else, then enter it else you can buy your domain name from Bluehost as well. Don’t forget that you will get a free domain name if you choose a hosting plan (Next step) of 12 months. Once done, click “next“.
Enter your account info
Enter your personal information. This includes your account and contact information.
Next, in the package information section, you will be selecting the package you would like to buy.
You can select a 36 months package which gives you the cheapest monthly rate + a free domain name.
You will be paying for the 36 months upfront and that’s why you are getting such a great deal from Bluehost, but you can cancel your plan anytime in the future to get back your money. Thus there is no risk of losing your money. Also with 12months or more package means you don’t have to bother about paying the rent each month, just pay once and forget it!
There are other services which you can uncheck for now as you can buy them later as well if you want to. I don’t think they are required when you are just starting out.
Enter your billing info
Next, enter your billing information. Agree to the terms of service and then click “submit” button.
Skip the upgrades and special deals
You don’t need to buy anything else here as again you can buy them later if you need it. So you can skip the offers and special deals if you like.
Choose your password
Now you need to create a password. Click on the “create your password” button. This password will allow you to login to Bluehost and get started.
Your screen might be a little different but that fine. Bluehost keeps making changes to its website to provide a much better user experience to its customers.
5. Set up your WordPress blog
Now you are ready to start working on your WordPress blog. Just click the login button to get started with WordPress.
Select a free theme to get started (You can change this anytime)
Select a free theme to get started. You can always change this anytime in the future.
Start building your site
Your site might be in a temporary domain if you created a new domain. This is fine and nothing to worry about. It usually takes 2-20 hours for your domain to start reflecting, so for the time being Bluehost provides you a temporary domain so that you can work on your site right away. Once the domain name is active, Bluehost will automatically change the temporary domain name to your domain name.
If you face any problem then you should call the Bluehost support instead of chatting with them as they are quite active on calls and can get your query resolved in a minute. Also, they have access to your account so they can fix the problem for you as well.
Next, click the start building button to start building your site.
Welcome to your blog admin control
Next screen will show you the admin control of your WordPress blog. This is where you will be able to make changes to your blog, create new and awesome posts and everything related to your blog.
I recommend skipping the blue buttons in the middle of the screen (Business and Personal) and instead click “I don’t need help”. You don’t want any data on your blog and want to start fresh.
6. Design your blog
Congratulations, you just set up your first blog!
Now you can design your blog and create your first post.
Change your theme
If you want you can change your theme. There are a lot of options to choose from both free and paid. A few paid themes which I recommend using are DIVI Theme, Genesis and X Theme. All are equally great, are optimized for user experience and personalization, Ad optimization, website loading speed and also easily customizable.
Activate your blog
You must have received an email from Bluehost about activating your blog. Make sure that you click the link the email to activate your blog.
The first thing you should do is update your permalinks. You can get the complete idea of what it is and how to update it in this post here.
Install necessary plugins
Installing a plugin is easy. Just follow these steps –
a. Once you are on your WordPress blog dashboard, click on “Plugins” then “Add New” from the left-hand sidebar.
b. Search the plugins you want to download and install. You can search by the name of the plugin.
c. Click on “Install Now” button of the plugin which you want to install. This will install the plugin but it’s not activated yet.
d. Click on “Activate” button to activate the plugin.
e. You are done installing and activating the plugin, now you can configure the plugin.
There are a lot of FREE and PAID plugins available to use on your WordPress blog. But when you are starting out, I have a list of plugins which you should install right away.
a. Yoast SEO Plugin – This plugin helps you configure you posts SEO tags and thus making them SEO friendly. If you are just wondering what is SEO, its Search Engine Optimization, it means how much your blog post is optimized for SEO which decides what position it will show in Google search results.
b. WP Smush – This plugin is a much-needed plugin if you have images in your blog post. This plugin compresses your blog images so that they load fast when someone visits your website.
c. W3 Total Cache – This plugin simply makes your website super fast.
d. TinyMCE Advanced – This plugin adds extra features to WordPress post editing tool. Once you install this plugin it will be really helpful when you are formatting your posts.
e. Share Button By AddThis – You want your post to be shared by your readers so that others can also find your post. This can be easily done by installing share button by AddThis plugin. You readers can share your post on social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Google Plus, etc.
f. Google Analytics by MonsterInsights – You need to know how many users are visiting your site on a daily basis. Apart from that you also would like to find, how much time they spend on your website and on which post. Google analytics by MonsterInights helps you do that in a very simple way. Just create a new google analytics account and add the tracking key here. MonsterInsights plugin website has a tutorial for this.
g. Akismet – A free plugin to help you with spam comments your blog post will get. You have no idea how much spam and junk is there online. This plugin automatically marks spam comments SPAM!.
h. Pinterest WordPress Plugin – AccessPress Pinterest – A free plugin which helps you to put a PIN IT icon on your blog post images. This is a great way to let your readers pin your blog images to their Pinterest boards.
Publish your first post
Now you are all set to write your first post and publish it for your readers to read.
Follow these steps to publish your first post.
a. Go to your WordPress dashboard and click on “Posts” then “Add New” from the left-hand sidebar.
b. Next page will be where you will be writing your blog post. This is a very simple interface provided by WordPress to you. This is the place to show your writing skills!
c. Write the title of your blog post below the “Add New Post” input box.
d. Next start writing your blog post in the space provided. You can use a lot of other formatting tools to format your blog post. I have installed a plugin to enhance this. The plugin I have used is “TinyMCE Advanced”.
e. Once you are done writing click on the “Save Draft” button. This will save your blog post so that if you want you can edit it later as many times before you hit publish. Once you click “Publish” button, your post will be live and seen by your readers. Before publishing your post, you can always click the “Preview” button to preview your post.
Setting up a blog and writing great posts is just one part of your blogging journey. There is a lot of excitement while you are blogging as you will be learning at each and every phase of it.
Next, you would like to attract your readers to your blog post. You have written a great blog post but it would be so sad if no one reads it, right! Here is a step by step way to increase traffic to your blog using Pinterest. I have listed the steps I took to grow my blog from scratch, getting my first reader to 200,000 per month!
Visitors done! But if you ever thought of making money from your blog and running it as a fulltime job then you are not alone. There are thousands of bloggers who do that every day. Here is a step by step way to make money from your blog does not matter how big or small you are.